Is Carbonated water bad for your gut?
There are a few factors you need to keep in mind when buying sparkling or soda water for yourself or your family. While many wellness products and trends are stylish, satisfying, or downright innovative, some wellness advice is less than helpful to spread around. Case in point? The idea that carbonated water is bad for you simply because it's a bit more exciting to drink.
Thanks to carbonated water’s bubbles, some people report feeling gassy and/or bloated from drinking carbonated water in excess. It’s likely because of this that the idea of carbonated water’s negative impact on gut health began to circulate.
While carbonated water can, indeed, promote belching, bloating, and gas, it won’t cause major gut problems, nor will it degrade the health of the gut over time. There are several caveats to this:
- artificial sweeteners can cause diarrhoea and disrupt the precious balance of the microbiome, or
- made with sugar that degrades tooth enamel and feeds bad bacteria in the gut.
- artificially sweetened carbonated water can be particularly problematic for those with guts prone to inflammation such as in cases of colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
- gas produced in the stomach may exacerbate discomfort in cases of gastritis
- should be avoided in cases of stomach ulcers
The reason artificial sweeteners play a role is because, according to a 2015 study, the inclusion of additives can introduce pathogens into the gut. Effectively, artificial sweeteners can cause bacteria to attack themselves and destroy Caco-2 cells, which are embedded in the lining of the intestine.
Are there any benefits in drinking Carbonated water?
A positive benefit of these fizzy water beverages is that for those who may not consume enough water daily because they don’t like plain water or find it boring, bubbles can be a sensory experience that allows people to take more overall hydration in.
While carbonated water isn’t the end of the world for gut health, it can have an impact on oral health—if it’s infused with acids and sugars, that is.
Added acids and sugars have what is called an ‘acidogenic’ and ‘cariogenic’ potential, which leads to enamel erosion. Plain carbonated water is not the culprit even though people assume the CO2 in these drinks erodes teeth. That is a misconception. Those with added acids, sugars, and salt, however, increase the risk for tooth decay.
Keep in mind that not all carbonated water products are created equal.
- Seltzer and plain sparkling water have been carbonated.
- Club soda is also carbonated water but contains sodium, seltzer does not.
- Tonic water has added sweeteners.
- Flavoured sparkling water may contain citric acid plus sweeteners and caffeine.